Egypt is in upheaval: Between the Arab Spring and new elections in September, the North African country is currently in a transitional phase. For 30 years Mubarak ruled the country as a dictator. Now democracy presents government and citizens with new challenges.
Especially important are the children, they are the first to grow up in a democratic Egypt, says Doctor Maged Yanny. He heads the Association of Upper Egypt for Education and Development. "We are preparing the children to be the future of Egypt," Yanny told our site interview.
Currently, Yanny is visiting the friends and supporters of the Catholic Association in Germany, which includes the Archdiocese of Cologne. The 35 elementary school run by the Association in Egypt have long taken the approach of preparing children for their role as political citizens. "We believe that we can play an important role in the education of children – through extra-curricular events, through the Parents' Council, through the Students' Council, where children elect their representatives," Yanny explained.
Equal opportunities for all
The student council actually has a say, for example, when it comes to afternoon clubs or the purchase of new computers at school. Recently, teachers have also started to receive training on democratic values and civil rights. The system is having an effect, reports Yanny. Not only do the students do very well in national competitions, but in some schools the children are also asking for their rights; they are interested in democratic systems at school.
The special thing about the Association's elementary schools is that girls and boys are taught together, many of them from very poor backgrounds. Almost half of the 11.000 students are girls. Their promotion is particularly close to Yanny's heart, because, as he told our site tells. In order to further promote equal opportunities between the sexes, the Association also offers projects for women in the communities.
Equal opportunities for all is also one of the aspects that Doctor Yanny hopes for after the elections in September. That the new parliament "represents all Egyptians" and adopts a constitution that says "we believe in civil rights, equal rights for all, and freedom of religion and belief" are Yanny's wishes for the new Egypt.